Accusations of child sexual abuse against Catholic priests are so unsurprising, they barely blip on the media radar, as when seven Tarrant County women recently filed a lawsuit alleging that a priest who served locally molested them. (Allegations against the man, who still wears the collar, first arose in the mid-1970s).
Fort Worth Bishop Kevin Vann’s “Star-T” response to the lawsuit is a curious one for the 51 percent of Catholics nationwide who back legal abortion. In the quote, Vann cited “an individual’s God-given right to exercise control over their own bodies.” You said it, Bishop Vann… but do you realize what you said?
The reason I link the pedophile priest scandal to the Church’s questionable teachings on reproduction and sexuality is this: In the minds of Catholics and non-‘s alike, the scandal has tarnished the Church’s authority on certain moral issues. How can Catholic leaders denounce, say, same-sex marriage when they’ve spent so much time and energy shielding child rapists? Ironically, the classic Catholic definition of sin – “the failure to love” – explains both Church positions.
The light of a powerful teaching – the ”informed moral conscience” of the individual – becomes brighter and more necessary for thinking Catholics to separate the beauty of the creeds from the bullshit of the bishops. Perhaps that’s why most polls indicate that roughly half of U.S. Catholics support gay marriage, which is higher than the general population and still growing.